Consider it the World Series of the truck industry: Each year, the 40+ members of the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) pull together the best pickups, SUVs and crossovers in the land, run them through two-days of both on- and off-road testing, then name their choices as the best of the best. And while it’s usually thought of as a bastion of hardcore truck traditionalists, this year’s event proved the TAWA team knows a good thing when they drive it—even if the vehicle is as innovative as the all-new 2011 Nissan Juke. After all, the Juke was recently named “CUV of Texas” in this year’s Truck Rodeo, besting a wide variety of rivals. Winning in this arena is no small feat, Seattle Nissan says.
“The Nissan Juke was a breath of fresh air at this year’s rodeo with its unique and aggressive styling,” said Michael Herzing, president of TAWA. “On top of that it’s fun and exciting to drive. I think it’s going to surprise a lot of people and bring home a lot more awards.”
That’s courtesy of the Juke’s highly unexpected approach to the crossover segment. It showcases the bold appearance and sporty styling of today’s hot hatches, an elevated ride height, a breakthrough interior and a potent 1.6-liter turbocharged I4 engine. This advanced powerplant leverages direct-injection technology to deliver 188 hp and EPA-estimated fuel-efficiency ratings of 27 mpg city/32 mpg highway/29 mpg combined. Even when packing Nissan’s available torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system, a feature usually found only on much more expensive vehicles, the Juke still rings up an EPA line of 24/31/27. The Juke has the potential to take sales away from more established AWD brands, Maryland Nissan Dealers say.
“Obviously, we think the Nissan Juke is something special and is going to shake things up in the CUV category with its styling and performance capability,” said Pat Steiner, regional vice president, Nissan North America. “But to receive this kind of validation from the respected journalists of TAWA affirms we’re going in the right direction.”